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Media awakens to Spike camera testing
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Darren
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:30 pm    Post subject: Media awakens to Spike camera testing Reply with quote

pocketgpsworld.comBoth the Daily Mail and The Independent have published stories covering the Spike Speed Camera system which is currently on trial at a number of locations.

Spike is not a new system. Manufactured by Pips Technology who are based in Eastleigh near Southampton, it has already seen use as part of the London Congestion Charge scheme and works in much the same way as Speed Check Services SPECS system.

Spike consists of a camera with infra-red illuminator and the ability to read vehicle number plates (ANPR). By comparing the time taken for a vehicle to pass between two Spike cameras, the distance between which is known, allows the system to calculate a vehicles average speed between those locations.

However, Spike does not yet have the necessary approval for use as a speed measurement system and the current trials will no doubt be in place as a pre-cursor to seeking just that.

The beauty of Spike as far as those who are responsible for purchasing and installing such systems are concerned is cost. Spike is a much cheaper system than SPECS and instead of requiring expensive cabling to connect it to other cameras in a network, it relies on GSM, GPRS or WLAN instead making deployment faster, simpler and cheaper.

Quite what The Independent were thinking of when they printed "New speed cameras trap motorists from space" is anyone's guess but it sure makes for an attention grabbing headline.

For subscribers to our speed camera database you will wish to know that we are collating the locations of these cameras but they will not be published as part of the live database until they receive type approval and become active enforcement cameras. If you see them though, please do report them.
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Last edited by Darren on Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MaFt
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

more 'satellites' from the BBC...:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8632440.stm

MaFt
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lillyelse
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:42 pm    Post subject: Spike Cameras Reply with quote

Isn't about time we all said "enough is enough" don't you think?

Where the h*ll are we going with this, as a country on its knees?

And changing the subject slightly, are we supposed to throw away our, PNDs and PDAs now that iphone is here?

Hope not.
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NickG
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaFt wrote:
more 'satellites' from the BBC...

GPS uses satellites and there's a GPS in every camera to monitor it's current installed location. So they're fair in claiming the cameras use satellite technology in the same way TomTom can. The article you linked to does not suggest cameras are satellites as you're suggesting by the sentence I've quoted.

Their PDF brochure for the Spike HD says "A GPS unit may be fitted giving very high accuracy time and position information".
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Darren
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The article I wrote was prompted by various media coverage such as that in The Independent here which clearly sought to infer that satellites were used in some unique way. Indeed the Daily Mail go further and state "Speed cameras which communicate with each other by satellite" see here.

The BBC make no such claims but as SpikeHD has GPS as an option then your assertion that every camera has a GPS is incorrect in the absence of evidence to the contrary. Can you confirm it is SpikeHD that is being tested? Do you know that GPS has been specified if so?

The point we were making on that score was the some media outlets were seeking to make these cameras sound more ominous than they actually are.

I have asked PIPS for information on the actual technology on trial but doubt very much they will provide that information.
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MaFt
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NickG wrote:
MaFt wrote:
more 'satellites' from the BBC...

GPS uses satellites and there's a GPS in every camera to monitor it's current installed location.
...
Their PDF brochure for the Spike HD says "A GPS unit may be fitted giving very high accuracy time and position information".


you just contradicted yourself completely! 'may be fitted' is VERY different to having one in every camera! the GPS does not track speeders - it simply tells the set up where the camera is.

i suspect this will speed up installation as the camera can send it's own location rather than having to have someone program it all in. i also suspect that the GPS has nothing to do with detecting speeds - this 2nd assumption is proved by the fact that the GPS is optional.

either way, it's hardly 'tracking speeders from space' is it?! it is, however, terrible reporting!

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NickG
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I'm aware, nearly all speed-averaging cameras have a GPS in them for timing purposes (at minimum). There is no easier way to get evidential timing into a device without using GPS. At time of writing, there are literally dozens of news sites reporting this story making reference to GPS (check Google news search) and you're the only site I've found that's denying that GPS is used. Since they need both accurate position AND accurate timing information, it seems obvious to me that they should incorporate a GPS which is an ideal (and possibly the ONLY) solution to both of those problems.

I am in total agreement with you that news sites reporting that you are somehow tracked directly from space (or that they communicate with each via satellite) have obviously got the wrong end of the stick and do not understand the technology. Smile

I guess there's no point in either of us commenting further until you've received your reply from the manufacturer as the product hasn't been released yet.


Last edited by NickG on Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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darrengsaw
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks remarkably some equipment I saw the other day, I wondered what they were, looked like a slimmed down version of specs.
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NickG
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaFt wrote:
the GPS does not track speeders - it simply tells the set up where the camera is[...] it's hardly 'tracking speeders from space' is it?!


I never claimed it was "tracking speeders from space" and neither did the BBC article you are referring to! Please QUOTE the part of the BBC article where you are claiming they said "tracking speeders from space". The words "tracking" and "space" do not even occur in that article, let alone say what you're claiming. Only one sentence even mentions satellites and all it says is:

BBC wrote:
Tests are taking place in the UK of new speed cameras that combine number plate recognition and satellite technology.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NickG wrote:
As far as I'm aware, nearly all speed-averaging cameras have a GPS in them for timing purposes (at minimum).

Then you are misinformed as SPECS does not use GPS as part of its technology.

Precise GPS accurate timing such as you suggest is unnecessary. All that is needed is for the distance between camera poles to be known and measured and for the cameras to have their clocks synchronised, a trivial matter as they are networked.

MaFt posted the BBC item as another example that referred to the use of GPSin these system albeit not misleading as The Daily Mail and Independent's items are.

Nothing you have said here proves that GPS is used although you are correct in pointing out that SpikeHD has GPS as an option. The use of GPS in Spike would make the install simpler still as manual survey measurements between cameras are not required, nothing more.
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NickG
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darren wrote:
Nothing you have said here proves that GPS is used

Agreed - all I have as proof is about a dozen reputable news sites including the BBC, Telegraph, etc claiming it uses satellite technology. I'm sure they're ALL wrong as none of them spoke to you before publishing their article.
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MaFt
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

no need for the sarcasm. have you ever considered that, perhaps, most of these articles are based on the other ones? you know, instead of people actually researching they simply re-hash the other sites/papers news as it's the quickest way to get a story out?

all of them mention using satellites to trap speeders yet none of them have any information about HOW they use satellites.

the complaint here, really, is the poor journalism of half-baked facts that have been reported as 100% fact that satellites are spying on speeders in these "new" speed cameras! it's quite funny when you look at it...

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Darren
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NickG wrote:
Agreed - all I have as proof is about a dozen reputable news sites including the BBC, Telegraph, etc claiming it uses satellite technology.

Nick, we all know you take great delight in moaning about anything and everything. That is your choice but if you think that an item that appears in a Newspaper must be accurate just because then its wake up time!

We all know Newspapers make it up as they go along half the time and I'm happy that my appreciation of the subject of GPS is better than some hack who has been tasked with re-hashing a piece of PR handed to him.

If this Spike system does have GPS then fine, but once again, as you seem to find it difficult to understand, my beef was with the assertion that the GPS satellites were somehow actively involved as suggested by the Independent or better still were communicating with each other as suggested by the Daily Mail.
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NickG
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darren wrote:
Nick, we all know you take great delight in moaning about anything and everything


At last - we're in full agreement on something! Isn't it fun to moan? - it's what makes us British! Very Happy

Besides, I was defending them - you're the ones that posted a story moaning about it. Very Happy
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adding a GPS receiver to the camera does provide a very accurate date and time stamp (the location isn't relevant for average systems due to the road curves etc).

This is new as no other camera uses a GPS derived time stamp for the pictures it takes AFAIK so this is one potential loop hole the new system is closing down.

With GPS enabled in car camera systems such as the "Hawk Eye" it wouldn't be difficult to prove the vehicle wasn't in range of the camera if it were to speed past a Gatso etc as the Gatso time clock will drift over time.

Simply demand the photograph and use the recording from the car system to prove it was elsewhere at the time the offence was committed, this calls in to question the evidence, the GPS time stamp is traceable to a known (very accurate) reference, the Gatso isn't. This new camera system can issue a photograph with a UTC time stamp derived from the GPS signal which is why I think the manufacturers are making this option available - Mike
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